1. Two hours off on Election Day: Lint refers to SDCL 12-3-5:
Any person entitled to vote at any election held within this state, including a primary election, shall, on the day of such election, be entitled to absent himself from any service or employment in which he is then engaged or employed for a period of two consecutive hours between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls; provided such person does not have a period of two consecutive hours during the time the polls are open during which he is not required to be present at his work or place of employment. Such voter is not, because of so absenting himself, liable to any penalty, nor may any deduction be made on account of such absence from his usual salary or wages. The employer may specify the hours during which such employee may absent himself as aforesaid.
An employer who refuses an employee the privilege conferred by this section or who subjects an employee to a penalty or reduction of wages because of the exercise of such privilege or who directly or indirectly violates this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor [SDCL 12-3-5, last amended 1982].
2. Taco Tuesday: Tack your two-hour voting break onto your lunch hour, and you can hit the Taco John’s drive-through first and grab a whole sack of provisions in case there’s a line. Who knows—maybe sharing with grouchy Trumpsters will help cheer them up amidst their growing sense of doom.
3. Opioid overdoses: Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that in 2018, South Dakota’s age-adjusted death rates for opioid overdoses and all drug overdoses were among the lowest in the nation; however, in 2019, South Dakota saw the largest jump in overdose death rates, 54%. The American Medical Association released an issue brief on September 8 warning that more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Baltimore’s Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program reports that drug overdoses are up 18% during the pandemic.
4. Suicide rates: The CDC reports that 12 states had higher suicide rates than South Dakota in 2018.
5. Prison time for failed drug test: True—South Dakota is the only state that makes ingestion of a controlled substance a felony.
7. Legal cannabis and drug overdose rates: The National Institute on Drug Abuse says research so far is inconclusive:
A new study underscores the need for additional research on the effect of medical marijuana laws on opioid overdose deaths and cautions against drawing a causal connection between the two. Early research suggested that there may be a relationship between the availability of medical marijuana and opioid analgesic overdose mortality. In particular, a NIDA-funded study published in 2014 found that from 1999 to 2010, states with medical cannabis laws experienced slower rates of increase in opioid analgesic overdose death rates compared to states without such laws.1
A 2019 analysis, also funded by NIDA, re-examined this relationship using data through 2017. Similar to the findings reported previously, this research team found that opioid overdose mortality rates between 1999-2010 in states allowing medical marijuana use were 21% lower than expected. When the analysis was extended through 2017, however, they found that the trend reversed, such that states with medical cannabis laws experienced an overdose death rate 22.7% higher than expected.2 The investigators uncovered no evidence that either broader cannabis laws (those allowing recreational use) or more restrictive laws (those only permitting the use of marijuana with low tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations) were associated with changes in opioid overdose mortality rates.
These data, therefore, do not support the interpretation that access to cannabis reduces opioid overdose. Indeed, the authors note that neither study provides evidence of a causal relationship between marijuana access and opioid overdose deaths. Rather, they suggest that the associations are likely due to factors the researchers did not measure, and they caution against drawing conclusions on an individual level from ecological (population-level) data. Research is still needed on the potential medical benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids [National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana as Medicine Drug Facts,” retrieved 2020.09.27].